State Theatre

213 W. Federal Street,
Youngstown, OH 44503

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dallasmovietheaters on January 11, 2021 at 12:36 pm

Broumas Theatre Circuit headed by John G. Broumas took over the State from the Edward C. Prinsen estate in 1963 less than a year after Prinsen’s death. The State had already transformed to a 1,250-seat road show house playing 70mm films.

milanp on February 20, 2016 at 5:11 pm

Patsy- Just saw your (long ago) post. Could you be thinking of the Southern Park Mall Cinema? It opened in April 1970 as a single-screen theater (w/ “MAS*H”), and, sadly, became a twin in mid-1977.

milanp on February 20, 2016 at 5:02 pm

Ed- I have no idea what the State looked like in 1952 since I wasn’t born yet, lol. But I’m guessing there must have been a substantial remodeling shortly thereafter since the State went on to become the premier roadshow house in downtown Youngstown (“West Side Story,” “Around the World in 80 Days,” “Dr. Zhivago,” “Cleopatra,” a year run of “The Sound of Music,” etc., etc.).

milanp on February 20, 2016 at 4:58 pm

Ed- Hope this a help. “Don’t Bother to Knock” (double-billed w/ “Holiday for Sinners”) opened at the Paramount on 8/14/52. “Where’s Charley?” (w/ “The Sea Tiger”) opened at the Warner on 8/15/52. The State opened the “Virginia City”/“Dodge City” double feature on 8/15/52 also.

wolfgirl500 on February 10, 2015 at 4:57 pm

When the State opened, it had a sister theater that was located between Chestnut Street and Fifth Avenue that was a small theater that ran westerns and other “B” pictures ans serials, and was named the Cameo Theater. It only lasted about 10 years before it was torn down.

Victorgan on August 2, 2014 at 7:04 am

The State Theatre held a 3 Manual 12 Rank Kimball Theatre Pipe Organ, installed in 1928. It was removed, rebuilt, enlarged and re-installed in a Kingston, Ontario church.

wolfgirl500 on October 9, 2013 at 1:33 pm

It sounds like you are referring to either the Palace and Strand or the Paramount and State, but most likely the less impressive of them would have been the Strand. On the other hand,the Paramount and State were across the street from each other.

edblank on October 9, 2013 at 12:52 pm

This is a longshot, but … As a child in 1952 I visited an adult sibling in Youngstown and saw movies with her that were playing concurrently that weekend. Can anyone tell me which Downtown Youngstown theater played “Where’s Charley?” and which played “Don’t Bother to Knock” (those theaters were practically side by side) and which played the reissued double bill of “Dodge City” and “Virginia City”? That theater was less impressive than the other two and was directly across the street from “Where’s Charley?” as I recall. Many thanks for any help.

wolfgirl500 on October 9, 2013 at 10:08 am

Emil Renner (a member of the Renner Brewery family) was one of the original owners of the State. He also oned the Princess Theatre; Realto Theatre; Uptown Theatre; Mahoning Theater; Cameo Theater; and Victor Theater, all of Youngstown.

The Cameo Theater was built at the same time that the State was built and was located between Chestnut and Fifth Avenue in downtown Youngstown and had a seating capacity of 800. It lasted for about 20 years before it closed, and the building was later demolished.

There is very little information about the Cameo other than what I mentioned, so I can’t give it its own page unless someone can provide more information. I do have a photo of the outside of the Cameo.

wolfgirl500 on July 25, 2013 at 9:57 am

During the first two years of it’s life 1928-29 the State had a movie and vaudeville program, but in 1930 no furthe live vaudeville was presented. The plan was one feature film followed by five vaudeville acts.

Dudester21 on January 3, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Just doing some light research through the Vindy archives and it seems like the theater was used in some form until the late 80s. By 1986 it was called the Star Palace and looked to be catering less to hard rock ‘n’ roll acts that made the venue popular in the Tomorrow Club and Agora era. There are concert dates in the paper in 1987. I would assume it closed shortly thereafter.

The Agora era ended on July 23, 1982 when it abruptly closed. Bankruptcy followed. Lots of reports of fighting/vandalism associated with the facility in 1982 helped lead to its demise. It was reopened as State Theater and Civic Center in late Sept./early Oct. 1983.

Jack Gerchok, who owned and operated the Tomorrow Club and Agora, died in Jan. 1991 at the age of 52.

As far as films are concerned, Sept. 1970 seems to be the last of the ads in the Vindicator. The last film advertised is “Tropic of Cancer”.

Dudester21 on December 29, 2011 at 9:56 am

Man who used to manage the rock clubs at the State Theater in 70s and 80s died on Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2011.

Pretty incredible to think that young and upcoming bands like the Ramones, AC/DC, KISS and Rush played that joint. I know it’s an important historical place for movies, but it’s probably the most significant rock ‘n’ roll venue in the city’s history.

wolfgirl500 on October 16, 2011 at 7:49 am

By June of 1970, downtown Youngstown ceased to be a destination for movie fans, and even most of the neighborhood theaters were closed, forcing people to go to the malls and plaza’s outside the city to see the latest flick. The New Park burlesque would hold on a couple more years, and the Warner, by now known as Powers Auditorium would still be open, but its projectors would be silenced in favor of live stage shows and concerts.

This theater page ad for June 14, 1970 reflects that change.

The State would hang on for a while longer but would be a second or third run house until it was transformed into a nightclub first known as the Tomorrow Club and then the Agora.

As for the Paramount, it was on borrowed time but occassionally would bring in a decent film such as Hello Dolly as seen in this ad.

The one form of theater that the conglomerates couldn’t draw away from the city was live theater and Powers Auditorium and Stambaugh Auditorium would book in big time personalities but on a sparce schedule of two or three shows each year each until the Covelli Center added to the mix bringing the number to three, but this center is also a sports arena so it doesn’t really fit the theater model even though it does bring in big names such as Barry Manalow, Mannheim Steamroller, Disney On Ice, and The Trans Siberian Orchestra.

Downtown Youngstown is undergoing a renasaunce with three highrise apartment complexes catering to the affluent professionals and during the summer months the City brings in a weekly schedule of films shown outdoors at the Covelli Center that are well attended hoping that this might inspire someone to bring a movie theater back downtown, but even if that happens, we’ll never see a true movie palace there again unless new blood brings a movie schedule back to Powers. All the needed equipment is there, but not the will.

wolfgirl500 on October 15, 2011 at 8:36 pm

You’re entirely welcome. With all the multi-screen theaters, all in area malls and plaza’s now we seem to be low man on the totum pole when it comes to blockbuster films, and we almost have to use magnifying glasses to read the ads in the local paper.

It’s sad that the days of the old time movie palaces are just memories and that our one remaining downtown theater doesn’t take advantage of its equipment to at least have occassional film festivals.

I was suprised to learn that the Stambaugh Auditorium also has projectors and screen. One of their upcoming shows this month is a silent film and their Skinner pipe organ will provide the music to go with it.

milanp on October 15, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Thanks for posting those old newspaper ads. Talk about a blast from the past—such fun seeing them again! I’m also happy to learn that my memory wasn’t playing tricks on me re: opening dates. Perhaps the reason I didn’t remember “Star!” or “Finian’s Rainbow” as “roadshow” style engagements was that I bought my ticket(s) the day of show and sat wherever I liked. Of course, that sort of thing was always easier to do in large venues like the State or Wedgewood than, say, the Uptown where the Fosters were always sticklers for rules, lol. Even if the theater was practically empty (like, for example, during their roadshow booking of “Sweet Charity” later that year) an usher would make sure that you stayed in your assigned seat at all times. Also interesting to see that some of the area drive-ins were going strong…in January. And with such interesting, auteur-friendly double-bills.
“Bullitt” and “Petulia”!?! “The Stalking Moon” and “Poor Cow”!?!?!?!
Crazy, crazy stuff—I love it!

wolfgirl500 on October 15, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Here’s are the links.

wolfgirl500 on October 15, 2011 at 6:44 pm

I guess to be absolutely and infallably correct for the sake of purists that the listings were taken from the Youngstown Vindicator for Sunday, January 26, 1969 advertizing for advanced ticket sales.

For the absolute purists I guess I should have either provided links to the two pages, or posted pictures of the ads themselvrs.

Since the ads were for advanced sales, the actual show dates would have been in February of 1969.

Again, since only one of the theaters applies to this page ie. the State, I didn’t want to confuse matters by including unrelated ads.

For the sake of the purists, I will go back and get the links and post them here.

milanp on October 15, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Addendum to previous post: “The Lion in Winter” opened in February as well.
Looking back at a time when virtually everything opens on 3,000+ screens simultaneously, it’s remarkable to consider how long it took movies to make it to Youngstown. “Funny Girl” opened (in “major markets”) in September ‘68; “Lion,” “Star!” and “F/Rainbow,” October '68; “Fisherman,” November '68; “Oliver!” (which opened relatively quickly in the Youngstown market), “Chitty” and “Ice Station” were all Xmas '68 releases.

milanp on October 15, 2011 at 5:14 pm

I’m pretty sure that “Oliver!” and “Star!” (their exclamation marks; not mine, lol) opened mid-February, Wolfgirl. “Finian’s Rainbow” was at the Paramount that February as well, followed shortly thereafter by “The Shoes of the Fisherman,” another roadshow film. Oddly, 1968’s other “big” year-end r-show pics (“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and “Ice Station Zebra”) didn’t hit Youngstown until June (at the Liberty Plaza and Paramount respectively). And I’m pretty sure that only “Funny G.,” “Oliver!” and “Lion” were “hard ticket”/reserved performances (if not seats) engagements here. Possibly because they were the only hits out of that “more-quantity-than-quality” r-show pack.

wolfgirl500 on October 15, 2011 at 3:39 pm

In the week of January 26, 1969 there were no fewer than four roadshow films opening in Youngstown theaters:

State – FUNNY GIRL Newport – STAR Uptown – LION IN WINTER Wedgewoon Cinema – OLIVER

wolfgirl500 on October 15, 2011 at 1:57 pm

After the State closed, the main floor was leveled so that tables could be places there for when it reopened as the Tomorrow Club and later The Agora, and the balcony was used for the general public.

Jack Oberleitner
Jack Oberleitner on October 15, 2011 at 11:13 am

The State started life as a deluxe, first-run with a full orchestra in the pit. By the mid-50;s it had declined somewhat into B-house status. By that point it and the Palace were owned by the same company. The advent of the roadshow/reserved seat policy found the State temporary shuttered. I think the concept of remodeling the State as a deluxe roadshow venue was a no brainer. The Palace was doing fine and the State was closed but still had good bones and a great history. The main lobby area was small; but, the walk up from the street was long and impressive. The new huge screen was placed in front of the original proscenium, draped with a wall to wall, gold curtain. The marquee was covered on three sides with large, front-lit graphic displays, similar to those one might expect to see in NYC. Very impressive.

If memory serves, the balcony was seldom, if ever, used during roadshow runs. I could speculate, but am not sure why this was since all performances were near sellouts. Going to a roadshow , like Ben Hur, was a real event that most people “dressed up” a bit more when attending the event. I miss those days and that “magic.”

milanp on October 15, 2011 at 10:26 am

There was indeed a balcony at the State, Wayne. I still remember the first Saturday matinee performance of “Mary Poppins” back in February 1965 when I had to take turns sitting on the balcony floor because management oversold the house.

WayneS on October 15, 2011 at 10:21 am

Looking at the picture of the State auditorium, it appears to confirm my memory that it did not have a balcony but was of the single floor plan design with a large orchestra and a large steeper loge. I believe designers call that stadium seating. Am I right about that?

WayneS on October 15, 2011 at 10:15 am

I would love to visit the Powers, thank you. Although not a movie theater, I have great memories of the Stambaugh.